Best medium car under $50,000

Mazda 6 Touring Sedan

Redesigned from the ground up and incorporating significant improvement, the new Mazda 6 Touring Sedan proved unbeatable in this year’s awards, taking both its category and being named the Judges’ Choice.

It excelled particularly in the areas of design and function and on the road where, with a tranche of class-high scores, it was deemed by judges to be a standout.

Inside, the design, quality and sheer plushness of finish are good enough to compare with more expensive European vehicles. You get plenty for your money, including push-button engine start, leather seat trim, satellite navigation and powered leather front seats (which are comfortable and supportive).

The new model is 130mm longer (now 4865mm), and 45mm wider (now 1840mm) and, as a result, there is enough leg-room to comfortably carry four adult passengers. The 438-litre boot is particularly spacious.

Under the bonnet is a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder engine that showcases Mazda’s SKYACTIVE fuel saving technologies, resulting in an ADR combined fuel average of 6.6 litres/100km. While not designed specifically as a sporty car, the Mazda 6 is delightfully nimble with plenty of power and a smooth six-speed auto.

It won the Judges’ Choice not only for emotive appeal, but also because it ticks the boxes that make it a benchmark car in its class and one that will influence the direction of competitors. To be considered for this award, it must have the highest safety score, low fuel consumption with a green vehicle guide rating of 3.5 stars or more and be priced below the luxury car tax threshold.

It must also be the most complete package, delivering desirability in its style and presentation, along with innovation in its engineering. It must be reliable, with smart functionality, good driving dynamics and it has to be affordable.

Finally, it must be the obvious response to the inevitable question posed to any credentialed motoring critic: ‘What car would you buy?’. For the Australia’s Best Cars judges, this was it.

Australia's Best Cars Best Medium Car under $50,000 Mazda6 Touring Sedan

Indicative Drive Away Price: $41,200

Criteria out of 10 – Mazda 6 Touring Sedan

Value for Money   Rating 
Pricing  5H
Depreciation  4M
Running Costs  4M
Fuel Consumption  7C
Warranty and dealer access   4H
Insurance  5L
Standard Features  7H

Design and Function   Rating 
Safety  6C
Environment  8C
Comfort  9M
Space  9M
Practicality  7M
Ergonomics  9M
Build and Finish  9H

On the Road   Rating 
Performance  9M
Ride  9M
Handling  9H
Braking  9H
Smoothness and Quietness   8M

Note: Level of weighting importance for each score: L = Low, M = Medium, H = High, C = Critical.